These days, the term "vintage" has become an ever-present element in interior design, ranging from aesthetic influences to physical pieces passed down through generations. Contemporary style, in particular, has played a major role in the preservation of vintage decor by setting a precedent for a seamless integration between the old and the new.
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But what can we consider to be vintage, exactly? Many experts agree that anything made 20 years ago and older constitutes vintage, while others mark the cutoff at 40-years-old — anything after 100 years old is then considered antique. Either way, it's safe to say that items from the '90s (we know, yikes!) and older can all fall under the vintage umbrella.
From the sleek and minimalist elements of modernism to the saturated and groovy vibe of the '70s, there is no shortage of inspired decades to draw inspiration from. Today, midcentury modern and craftsman styles are among the most popular vintage influences, although there are plenty of other eras making their mark.
For homeowners and renters alike who want to lend a vintage touch to their living rooms, it's all about identifying an era that complements their existing aesthetic. The task then becomes to find pieces of decor that are consistent with that time period, and thoughtfully integrate them throughout your space — this is definitely easier said than done. But not to worry. We've looked high and low to bring you 20 inspired vintage living room design ideas that will point you in the right direction.
20 Vintage Living Room Ideas
If you're looking to dip your toes into vintage design, start small in your living space with a statement piece or two, like Lynda Gardener did in this Scandi-farmhouse cottage. The old-fashioned wood-burning stove and the picture ledge above the sectional sofa displaying an assortment of black-and-white photos and oil paintings elude to a storied past. The linen lanterns, an abundance of accent pillows, and sheepskin throws are essential to nailing the art of hygge.
Craftsman style came about during the arts and crafts movement of the late 19th century and can be characterized by the use of natural materials and clean lines to create custom features. For example, in this beautiful home restored by Jamie Haller, she embraced the original wood, bringing it back to its former glory, and had baseboards and molding custom-made to match the existing pieces already in the home. The cohesive nature of the finishes inspires a clean-cut aesthetic that's effortlessly cool.
Fine leather furniture is always a good investment, but make sure the pieces you buy are high-quality to ensure that it pays off. These vintage accent chairs selected by Katie Hodges really make the living room design — adding the perfect old-school touch to the cool Spanish-deco-inspired space.
Built in 1905, this historic home is bursting with vintage charm. The team over at Jean Stoffer Design did a masterful job renovating the property, as evidenced by the stunning living room. Traditional pieces of home decor — such as a pair of tight back sofas, a grand piano, and a leather club chair, to name a few — are plentiful in this space, blending in seamlessly with the classic architectural features.
Leave it to this farmhouse living room by Diana Marie Home to serve us with a major dose of design inspiration. From the exposed rustic wood ceiling to the white shiplap walls to the blackened steel candelabra to the "Antique Sale" sign hanging behind an assortment of collectibles, every element in this space is an ode to country living.
This light-filled living room with black steel-framed windows is a prime example of how well industrial style can combine with vintage midcentury accents. Follow the lead of this setup and complement the scheme with leafy greens for an earthy, organic touch.
7. Hollywood Regency
Hats off to Alisa from A Glass of Bovino for her Hollywood glam living room. By sticking to a reserved background (note the white walls), she was able to introduce playful pops of color and pattern by way of art and accessories throughout the beautifully appointed space.
When designing a vintage-style living room with Southwestern roots, don't sleep on bold colors — namely anything that ranges from orange to green. This warm and inviting scene by The Hearnes is no exception. The emerald green wall makes a picture-perfect backdrop for a brown leather sofa and weathered wood finishes. The brightly patterned textiles (such as the accent pillows, throw blanket, and area rug) punctuate the scene beautifully.
9. Midcentury Modern
Consider this stunning setup midcentury modern style in a nutshell. Wood-paneled walls infuse the room with a wealth of warmth while the jewel-toned velvet sofa offers a tactile layer that's equal parts comfortable and swoon-worthy. Bring it all together with a vintage paper lantern, much like the one spotted in the corner, for a positively chic finish.
10. English Country
This cozy English country living room designed by McGrath II has no shortage of visual treats to indulge in. Staying true to the beloved aesthetic, the space features an assortment of varied patterns and a mix of colors that echo those found in the antique area rug underfoot. Traditional furniture silhouettes and framed oil paintings complete the idyllic scene.
11. Art Deco
Take a cue from this stunning art deco living room spotted on Inspired by This and go big with the help of a few statement-worthy pieces. In this vintage setup, decadent black walls set the scene for an oversize piece of artwork. The chocolate brown, rolled arm leather sofa, old-school trunk, elegant chandelier, and even the potted palm all play an integral part in this sophisticated production.
Combine styles from varying eras for an unexpected vintage-meets-maximalist look. Every nook and cranny of this living space is chock-full of collected treasures — from the ladder-style bookcase topped with a birdcage to the old-fashioned roll-top desk to the storage unit with countless cubbies overflowing with tchotchkes — making it the ultimate conversation zone.
Bauhaus style took center stage in the early 20th century, and since then, it's found its way in many contemporary interiors. The hallmark style of modernism can be characterized by sleek lines and a strict use of neutrals. Bring the vintage style to a living room by incorporating classic pieces such as these Wassily Chairs and matching coffee table by icon Marcel Breuer.
14. Federal Style
In this townhouse by Elizabeth Roberts, the wood-paneled walls and millwork may steal the show, but the mix of midcentury and modern living room furniture and decor make the perfect supporting cast. Take a cue from this inspired design scheme and embrace a color palette that can complement rich wood finishes — think sage green, beige, and dusty rose.
If you're a lover of grandmillenial style, then you are in for a treat. This charming living area by Heidi Caillier combines the best of English country design and traditionalism for a cozy retreat that's made for relaxing by the fireside. From warm wood finishes to varying finishes to mix and matched patterns to an assortment of textures, this vintage setup has it all and then some.
16. '70s Midcentury
All of the home decor in this living room by Jamie Bush — from the chartreuse sofa to the Warren Platner coffee table to the Saarinen side table — points to midcentury style, but it's the shag rug that doubles as an ode to the '70s. The rich textures seen here are instrumental in lending a softer note to the otherwise streamlined details of the room, while the cane ottomans add a cool structural element.
Sparsity is the name of the game in this reading nook, which makes it clear just how impactful minimalist style can be. All it takes to recreate this dramatic corner is a simple accent chair that echoes the wall color, resulting in a monochromatic finish that packs quite the punch. (We love the charcoal gray shade seen here.) An old-school oil painting hits the right moody note, and makes the perfect finishing touch.
18. Contemporary English
We're loving designer Zoë Feldman's unique take on traditional design with her unapologetic use of bold color and texture. While the bright orange sofa stands in as a modern accent piece, it's the upholstered settee and marble fireplace that keeps the space feeling classic and cool. Consider this a lesson in seamlessly integrating vintage living room decor into a contemporary scheme.
19. French Country
In this historic revival by designer Cortney Bishop, you'll find a range of vintage and antique elements that combine in effortless harmony. The wall decor and Edwardian armchairs are a nod to traditionalism, while the streamlined details of the fireplace offer a modernized touch. The vintage-style French country living room is made complete with a luxurious crystal chandelier and an imported area rug to boot.
Rustic style with a craftsman bent looks a lot like this stunning scene designed by Jersey Ice Cream Co. While the exposed wood ceiling, wall paneling, and weathered wood flooring are reminiscent of a cabin in the woods, the furniture and decor — like the velvet seating with tassel fringe, traditional sconces, old-school portrait, and vintage area rug — give the living room a refined feeling.
Important Factors to Keep in Mind
All in all, when it comes to infusing your living room with vintage influences, it's all about looking at what you already have and building on top of that. A strictly modern minimalist scheme can benefit from retro accents reminiscent of the '60s, while a contemporary one can be a starting point for anything from craftsman to traditional. Look to local flea markets, antique shops, yard sales, and estate sales for pieces that speak to you. You can also peruse online destinations such as Etsy, Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and 1stDibs. It's important to remember to take your time and be thoughtful about the vintage treasures you bring into your home — each piece should work to tell a larger story.